Bylaws of the Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc.
July 19, 2017
Dear RNAC Member,
I hope you’re having a fabulous summer!
The Rocky Neck Art Colony Board of Trustees has been working hard over the past few months to address an issue with the organization’s leadership structure, and we need your help.
Right now, the Rocky Neck Art Colony has five Officers who are elected by the membership at our annual meeting: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Artistic Director. These officers serve as ex officio (by virtue of the position) members of the Board. The Board oversees RNAC’s governance and finances, and supports Suzanne’s work as Executive Director. The Board has a Chairperson, who leads the Board meetings and reviews its various initiatives; Martha Kurz is currently serving as Chair.
So, currently we have a RNAC President, a Board Chair and an Executive Director. This is an unusual and overly complex leadership structure for a nonprofit organization and it has caused significant confusion. A more typical structure includes a Board Chair to lead governance and budgetary matters and an Executive Director to manage the organization and its operational committees.
The RNAC Board proposes to amend the Bylaws to align with nonprofit best practices, clarify the roles of the RNAC leadership for the Board, and streamline and improve the functioning of the organization. This Bylaws amendment will be put to a vote of the membership at the September 28, 2017 Annual Meeting.
There are two proposed changes. The primary change would be to remove the ex officio designation of the current Board Officers and enable existing Board members to elect them (the former Officers) as full Board members. The existing Officers – Karen Ristuben as President, Kristie Bernard as Vice President, Ramona Faherty as Treasurer, Ann McKay as Secretary, and Marty Swanson as Artistic Director would then serve on the Board for a new two-year term, so that we can continue to benefit from their experience and to help assure continuity for the Board and the organization.
The second, equally important change to the Bylaws will strengthen the role of the RNAC artists by 1) retaining the membership vote for Artist members of the Board and 2) increasing the number of Artist Board members from two artists to three artists. The current Artist members are Kathy Archer and Ruth Mordecai; they would like to remain on the Board for another two-year term so they will be on the ballot at the Annual Meeting. Provided the Bylaws amendment passes in September, nominations for the third Artist Board member will be open to all RNAC members and the election by the membership for this third Artist Board member will take place at the October general meeting of the RNAC membership.
With this letter we are providing a highlighted set of Bylaws indicating the proposed changes. We have also created the organizational chart, attached, showing the proposed structure.
We hope that these changes will allow the Board, and therefore the organization, to act more nimbly and to maximize our efficiency and capacity as the active, vibrant arts organization we are. Please contact Karen, Martha, or Suzanne with your questions or comments, and save the date of September 28 for the RNAC Annual Meeting!
Officers/ex officio Board Members:
Karen Ristuben, President
Kristie Bernard, Vice President
Ann McKay, Secretary
Ramona Faherty, Treasurer
Martha Swanson, Artistic Director
Suzanne Gilbert Lee, Executive Director
Martha Kurz, Board Chair
Kathy Gerdon Archer, Artist Member
Ruth Mordecai, Artist Member
Mary Ann McCormick
Amy Bell Ross